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personal-branding-singapore-lionel-lim

Shakespeare once said:

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet”

I first read this hauntingly beautiful line in my literature class during my secondary school days and it has stuck in my head since then.

But now I beg to differ.

If a rose is not called a rose, it would have the same "market" value as it carries. It would also not be the symbol of love. 

Here’s a classic example I like to use. Tell me what you think of each of them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

- Insurance agent 

- Financial advisor 

- Wealth Coach

- Legacy Architect

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An insurance agent is easily replaceable because there are dozens of such agents around. There is no differentiating factor and that’s why you are losing out. Life is tough. So if this carries on, you will be out of a job very soon. You have been warned.

A financial advisor is someone who knows a fair bit more than an insurance agent. This is probably because of the number of years of experience. However, it still covers a broad spectrum as some are MDRT-class while others are struggling with their own brand identity.

A wealth coach is premium and definitely sells better than the insurance agent or financial advisor. Remember, it’s not just money. It’s wealth we are talking about. And note when you talk about wealth and not money, you are actually providing a more specialised service (ask yourself this question - who is able to command a higher fee - the general practitioner in the neighbourhood clinic or the plastic surgeon?). Now you know why specialists earn so much more than generalists.

How about a legacy architect? To me, that is luxury premium. Like a Hermes…which is highly exclusive. After all, I am preserving my monies for my next generation(s).

 

To start building your personal branding in Singapore, here's the top 3 things you must do:

#1: Start With A Personal Brand Label

Brand labels define us and the perception it gives others (our customers). The most important thing you have to remember is to keep moving up the value chain.

Whatever brand label you decide to give yourself, make sure you have enough substance. Don't fake it because the consequences will be dire. In other words, if you are just starting out in the financial industry, you wouldn't want to call yourself a legacy architect. 

This is because you don't have any experience. You haven't served any clients or managed their portfolio yet. And above it all, you have no results or track record to show. So at best, your personal brand label would be either a financial advisor or insurance agent.

 

#2: Know Your Personal Brand Appeal

Different strokes for different folks. 

Do you know your affinity market? In other words, who does your personal brand appeal most to?

Market segmentation is essential because we tend to relate better to a certain group of people, or industry, or niche.

Once you have found your affinity market, you should focus your personal branding efforts to relate and engage them. 

 

#3: Amplify Your Personal Brand Value

We see thousands of people enter the workforce (either as fresh graduates) or mid career entrants. Question is: how do you brand yourself differently so that your message resonates with others?

If there's anything you need to remember, it's this word called "value".

You need to create value for others. This can come in terms of educating or sharing relevant information with them. Do not bombard them with the latest celebrity gossip or Netflix recommendations.

Once value is created, you will be deemed an expert or go-to person in the industry. Slowly but surely, your personal brand value increases in the hearts and minds of your audience. And then they will trust you more. After trust is established, it is so much easier to do business. And if this trust is strengthened, you could even get referrals!

 

As the global economy stagnates, jobs are harder to come by and openings in MNCs are highly sought after. So the earlier you work on your personal brand and elucidate it, the better.

Branding is a journey and not a destination. If you are keen to build your personal branding in Singapore and would like someone to guide you along, drop me an email here and we'll be talking soon =)

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internship-preparation-search-workshop-singapore

Internship is all the rage. Why so? Being experiential in nature, students are able to apply their classroom knowledge in a professional setting. Very often, the real world out there is vastly different from what you have learnt from textbooks.

Thus, there is an increasing trend for both universities and polytechnics to make internships a compulsory component of any course.

The length of each internship may vary – some are as short as 6 weeks while others stretch to 6 months (or beyond should the student request to extend).

Personally, I support internships as it’s part of career planning.

Let’s be honest about it – many undergraduates do not know what they want to do after they graduate. And this is worrying. But with the help of internships, they are able to better access themselves and future plan if what they study currently is indeed the industry they see themselves working in.

Like it or not, there’s no escaping from internships. So the earlier you embark on your internship search, the better.

Here’s the top 3 factors you should consider before preparing for your internship search.

 

#1: Focus On Transferable Skills

Many students are only attracted by the big names in the market. They completely ignore the mid-tier and smaller companies. And that in itself is a huge mistake.

Don’t get me wrong.

>Big is good. But it also means competition is stiffer if everyone else is thinking the same way.

Just as not everyone is cut out for the limelight of Hollywood, in the same vein, the biggest names may not be the perfect fit for you.

You could be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond. It depends on your own expectations of the internship.

I have heard stories of students interning at some big brand name companies, only to lament they were not involved in big projects or given opportunities to do field work. Instead, they spent their time behind a desk doing menial work.

If this is indeed true, then they would have been much better off interning at a startup or SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) instead where opportunities to learn more may be present. And nimbleness and flexibility rule.

The bottom line is this. Instead of fretting over which company or organization to apply to, the question you should ask yourself is this: What can you gain from the internship?

In particular, I am referring to the transferable skills you can develop and bring along with you post internship.

Essential transferable skills employers are looking out include skills such as communication (written and spoken), team building, creativity and problem solving. And these skills can be highlighted in your resumes.

 

#2: Align Your Internship With Your Career Goals

If you do an internship just to clear the course requirement or have something to boast about in your resume, then you are clearly misled.

Instead, an internship should be something meaningful that will prove to be a stepping stone to your eventual career.

For example, if you are in a civil engineering course, then you should find a suitable internship in your field of study (should you eventually aspire to become a civil engineer).

There are exceptions to this. That is if you want to do something completely different after you graduate.

We know a degree or diploma does not restrict you to just that field or course of study. Bluntly put, it is just a piece of paper that shows you are rather good in studying.

Take some time to do this very meaningful exercise – what is your career goal after graduation? You can break it down into different niches – example: private versus public; local versus international.

 

#3: Apply Early For All Internships

Start your internship search early and apply when you find something you like. Good internship opportunities are snapped up quickly.

You have been warned.

So once you have set your mind on a specific industry or niche, start doing your research. Interestingly, the best internship opportunities may not always be advertised online. If you are truly keen, you can still apply and get an intern position. Just make sure you sound passionate and authentic in your cover letter. Recycling someone else’s cover letter or blindly pasting from your old version will definitely not cut the deal.

Another reason why you should apply early is because the competitive internships have many rounds of interviews. A FMCG company that is a hit with many undergraduates has 9 rounds of interviews.

 

Let your next internship be the perfect time for you to learn and grow, shine and dazzle. And your career path ahead be brightly lighted. All the best!

 

 

 

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